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After tutoring session with William Shakespeare, Rip Hamilton says "Yes, Sirrrrrah!"

It’s a Billy Shakes kind of week around here.  Today is his 445th birthday, and a bunch of his devotees in Chicago have also decreed that it shall henceforth be known as Talk Like Shakespeare Day.  This is a much better concept than Talk Like a Pirate Day — seriously, that day is so played out.

Shakespeare is one of our perennially most-searched individuals in BioRC, not to mention a fellow with a large body of work and interest in his life, so we have a lot of biographies on him — seven full narrative bios, in fact, once you figure in three from Lives & Perspectives Collection. The most intriguing one, we think, is from Encyclopaedia Judaica, which has the expected treatment of The Merchant of Venice and the character of Shylock, but also explores the history of Shakespearean translation into Hebrew and Yiddish:

The first translations of Shakespeare into Hebrew, Othello (1874) and Romeo and Juliet (1878), were by Isaac Edward Salkinson, and remained unsurpassed for at least two generations. Salkinson’s translations were done at the insistence of Pereẓ Smolenskin, the Hebrew novelist and essayist, then editor of the monthly Ha-Shaḥar, published in Vienna. In his foreword to Salkinson’s translation of Othello, Smolenskin wrote: “Shakespeare’s plays in the Holy Tongue! If all Israel had known and loved the language of their forefathers, and if all those who understand and love Hebrew could comprehend what great prize the translator of these plays has brought into the treasure-house of our language, then indeed would the day on which the first play by Shakespeare appeared in Hebrew become a victory celebration!” Salkinson rendered Shakespeare into strong, lucid, biblical Hebrew writing in free verse of 13 to 16–17 syllables) which did justice to the poetry and dramatic power of the original. Salkinson’s isolated achievement appears the greater when set against the background of the florid, padded, imprecise Hebrew style prevailing in Hebrew letters at the time.

The brain trust at Talk Like Shakespeare can be found today (and possibly ever after?) on Twitter @shakespearesays. The word is that ol’ Wills will translate anything you say into Shakespeech.  So we sent him some lines from a modern-day comedy of errors that surely would have impressed even the bard, The Big Lebowski, to see what he would come up with.

@waltersobchak: This is not Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
@shakespearesays: What’s in a Nam? That which we call “bowling” by any other name would smell as sweet.
@shakespearesays: What’s in a Nam? This be bowling! Obey the warrants.

Not bad, Bill, not bad.  The first one is inspired.  But we don’t think anything can top this — the most recent Magazine/News item in Shakespeare’s BioRC periodical stream, from UPI NewsTrack on April 15, 2009.

CONSETT, England, April 15 (UPI) — A British book dealer accused of stealing a Shakespeare first edition arrived in court dressed as Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

Raymond Scott, 52, faces six charges of theft and handling stolen goods after he allegedly stole the 1623 collection of William Shakespeare’s works, valued at $4.5 million, from Durham University, The Sun reported Wednesday.

He arrived in Consett Magistrates’ Court with three women and a bodyguard who were also dressed as revolutionaries.

The Sun said Scott previously showed up for a court date dressed as Boss Hogg from popular TV show “Dukes of Hazzard.”

Now that is high theatre.

Source: “Shakespeare, William.”Encyclopaedia Judaica. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, eds. 2nd ed. 22 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.

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Posted on: April 23, 2009, 10:37 am Category: Factoids Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

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